How To Make Espresso Romano At Home

Unlock the secrets of a perfect Espresso Romano with our comprehensive guide on “How To Make Espresso Romano At Home.”

Espresso Romano is a coffee drink with a twist, literally: in its purest form, it consists of a shot of espresso added with a slice of lemon.

The origins of the drink aren’t exactly clear. Though it has Romano in the name and is popular in the Campania region in Italy, espresso Romano likely did not originate in Italy. Some claim the drink first came to be in France, while others claim it is of American origin and named with an Italian flair to draw in tourists and coffee enthusiasts.

What You’ll Need: Ingredients and Equipment

Don’t let the fancy name get to you, espresso Romano is a breeze to prepare and can be easily made at home. All you need are an ounce of espresso, a teaspoon of sugar (optional), and a slice (or two) of lemon. For the equipment, you’ll need an espresso machine and a whisk.

How to Select the Perfect Espresso Beans for Espresso Romano

Quality espresso beans play a crucial role in crafting the perfect cup of espresso Romano. When using low-quality beans, the overall flavor of the drink can be compromised, resulting in an excessively bitter or intense taste. This not only diminishes the distinct lemony notes but also negatively impacts the entire drinking experience.

There are two main types of espresso beans: caffea Arabica and coffea Conephora, commonly known as Arabica and Robusta, respectively. While preferences may vary, many coffee enthusiasts recommend Arabica beans in a medium to dark roast to enhance the bold flavors of the espresso. It is essential to ensure that the beans are freshly ground for optimal taste.

When it comes to grinding the beans, the size matters significantly. Since you will be using an espresso machine, the grind size influences the speed of coffee extraction. For the best results, grind the beans to a fine size, resembling the texture of granulated sugar. This finely ground coffee ensures that you extract the maximum flavor from the beans, contributing to a rich and satisfying espresso experience.

How to Make the Perfect Espresso Shot

Making the perfect espresso shot

A large chunk of knowing how to make espresso Romano at home is learning how to make the perfect espresso shot. An espresso machine can help you with just that.

Espresso machines do the work for you so you don’t have to. This is a great option for beginners who are starting their coffee-making journey or for individuals who prefer having their coffee quick and fast to suit their fast-paced lifestyle. Manual extraction methods generally produce the same results but need more time and involve tweaking methods.

Coffee experts agree that the perfect extraction time for espresso ranges from 25 to 30 seconds. Time is of the essence here! Extraction time greatly affects the coffee flavor and body.

Under-extracted espresso has an acidic flavor and lacks body. Over-extracted espresso, on the other hand, is too bitter and overwhelms the other characteristic coffee flavors. You wouldn’t want any of these in your cup of espresso Romano, would you?

Part of the extraction technique is coffee tamping. This involves pressing down on the coffee grounds in the filter basket and forming a solid, flat even surface.

For maximum coffee tamping, raise your elbow to an angle of about 90 degrees. With a hand tamp, firmly and evenly press on the coffee grounds, exerting about 30 pounds of pressure. The point of tamping is to come up with an even surface for the water to go through the grounds equally.

Preparing the Zesty Lemon Twist

Learning how to make espresso Romano means knowing which lemon is right for your cup. You may be asking if there is a particular kind of lemon you should go for. The answer is none. Simply put, any kind of lemon will do as long as it’s fresh. For maximum flavor, fresh is best.

Lemon zest or lemon peel? Oh, choices, choices! This boils down to preference, though. Some prefer a more put-together look in their drink regardless of flavor. For this, lemon peel is the way to go. Simply slice a thin layer of peel, and add to your drink.

If you’re after a distinct tang in your drink, then lemon zest is for you. Zest a fresh lemon, sprinkle the zest on your espresso, and enjoy! For a more pronounced lemon flavor, you can squeeze a bit of lemon on your drink.

To zest like a pro, make sure you have a quality zesting tool on hand. Follow the directions on the user manual, and zest to your heart’s desire. But seriously, it takes some practice to get it right. As you learn how to make espresso Romano at home, you also get to learn how to zest like a pro.

Making the Espresso Romano

The key to success in making the perfect cup of espresso Romano lies in this golden number: 25–30 seconds. This is generally the agreed-upon time frame in creating the ideal espresso shot.

When adding lemon zest to your espresso, sprinkle just the right amount that is proportional to your cup. You wouldn’t want the zest to literally overwhelm your drink. Add the lemon zest bit by bit; it’s easier to add the zest than to remove it if you’ve added too much.

For maximum flavor, opt for fresh lemon zest. Dried zest is okay but will likely not be as flavorful.

A pop of bright yellow lemon makes for a happy-looking espresso drink. Maybe on the first try you won’t get the perfect balance of bitterness and brightness you’re after, and that’s all right. Experiment until you find that sweet spot of bright and bold in your espresso Romano cup.

Serving and Enjoying Your Espresso Romano

The right cup matters in creating the ideal, well, cup of espresso Romano. Ideally espresso is poured into cups that hold 2.75 to 3.5 ounces of liquid for maximum flavor and taste. Espresso cups, also referred to as demitasses, are perfect for this purpose.

Learn more about the Different Types of Cups for Hot Drinks.

Now that you know how to whip up your own espresso Romano at home, it pays to learn how to drink it. Technically there is no right or wrong way to drink espresso, but the right sipping technique makes a difference.

In this case, slowly and surely is the way to go. Take a slow, mindful sip of your cup of espresso Romano. Enjoy the flavors swirling around your mouth, particularly that of the bold espresso and the bright, zesty lemon. Pause and take a moment to enjoy the experience. Then take another hearty sip.

Espresso Romano pairs well with plain pastries, like a soft, buttery croissant or some plain lightly buttered toast. Rich cakes also go well with the drink as the espresso and lemon balance out the creamy, indulgent flavors.


Espresso Romano may sound fancy-schmancy, but really, it’s a classy drink that’s easy to create in the comforts of your home. With the proper equipment and techniques, you’ll be whipping up that perfect espresso cup in no time.

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